What a week it has been. After returning from an amazing dolphin trip, I went back to my daily routine. Meeting our fantastic Caribbean rebels, catching up with the guys from KISS on their farewell tour in Berlin, and now spending the weekend with our friend Christian at his uniquely cool Kessel Festival in Stuttgart. Things are going well. What else? Oh yeah, checking emails and messages after being completely offline for a week. My realization? I didn’t miss anything during that week. Absolutely nothing. My conclusion? Less time looking at my phone and more living in the moment. And this brings me to a topic that I’ve been noticing more and more, no matter where I am in the world.
It seems that in today’s society, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to find people who truly listen and communicate in a giving and taking way. Do you notice that too? Often, we find ourselves in conversations with individuals who only think about themselves or hold back and only respond when asked. There are fewer and fewer people genuinely interested in listening to others and understanding them, thus engaging in a conversation that is inspiring for both sides. Personally, I have identified three groups that I would like to share with you.
Group 1: The Egoist
People in this group enjoy talking about themselves. They are not genuinely interested in what their conversation partner has to say. They want to make an impression and assert their own opinions. Do you know such people? They never ask you any follow-up questions. They keep talking… about themselves. And from my observation, they often spew one negative nonsense after the other. Can it get any worse? Of course, it can. The deluxe version of this egoist is even worse. When these individuals don’t receive attention for too long or when others at the table engage in their own conversations, they eventually interrupt someone else’s sentence to regain control or attention.
Group 2: The Reserved
People in this group simply listen and don’t contribute anything on their own… absolutely nothing. Unless you ask them something, then they only respond to that specific question, and return to be silent again. If you ask further, they will answer the next question. No more, no less. However, having a follow-up question for you or maintaining a conversation flow is inconceivable.
Group 3: The Empath
This type of person, in my opinion, is endangered. They actively listen and ask questions to learn more about the other person. Why? Just because it’s enjoyable. Without any specific reason, they engage in a good conversation. They make comments that promote the conversation and communicate in a way that shows the other person’s importance. How the conversation unfolds then depends on which group the other person belongs to. If you belong to Group 1, you are delighted with every question and never even think of asking a follow-up question. If you belong to Group 2, you answer the question unambiguously, in a bureaucratic manner, and then go quiet again. However, if you belong to Group 3, something emerges that was once called “meaningful conversation.”
For those who have had a realization and want to move from Group 1 or 2 back to Group 3, the question arises of how to break out of self-centered communication. It’s quite simple. Focus on asking questions and listening attentively. Instead of thinking about the next question while the other person is answering, listen until they have nothing more to say. Only then should you proceed. Otherwise, you are not fully present. We, as humans, should be more willing to share our own experiences and engage in genuine conversations rather than remaining silent out of fear or frustration. Only then can we reconnect and appreciate each other sincerely. What if your conversation partner hasn’t read this newsletter and continues to operate in Group 1 or Group 2 mode? Well, I have decided for myself that this is not the person I want to spend regular time with. Because I can only change one person on this planet – myself.
With that said, I wish you a great week.